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Can anyone help me navigate a sea of statmenting and admissions confusion?

(45 Posts)
Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 11:38:24

DS, 3.9, has a mobility disability as a result of no fibula, short leg, small foot and no articulation in his ankle. He is independently mobile, and agile, but now uses a 5cm shoe raise, which can't be increased. He falls over a lot more than other children, can't run as fast (other children are already commenting on this - it is a fact), and has a hypermobile knee so needs a bit of extra 'watching'.
He will have v serious bone-lengthening surgery during his primary years, which involves having his leg in a fixator frame for upto a year, and probably two additional operations too. Our consultant has said that the ability of his school to support him during lengthening is vital as the child needs to co-operate. The charitable magazine we subscribe to has case histories in which children in fixators have felt severely insecure at school and it has given them psychological and educational problems.

In discussion with his consultant, Physio and GP, they have all agreed that he needs a small school with strong links to fmailies and other parents, and staff who can keep an eye on him.

But guess what - the small schools are the ones which are hardest to get into, and our nearest school is huge and a racetrack, with a high turnover of teachers etc.

I have been trying to get an answer from our LEA since 9th Feb on what 'SN' actually means in the admission criteria. No answer. No information.

We have just been turned down by our top favourite school - a small school with v flat access throughout the building, because although they put SN 2nd in the admission criteria, it now transpires that that means Statemented.

All the other schools we have applied to have SN way down the priority criteria.

Do children like DS qualify for a Statement? (he doesn't need an extra worker or anything - may need some physical support if he uses crutches etc after surgery)
How do I get a Statement? All the info I can find is how to get a statment once a child is IN school.
Could I get one by the deadline for appeal for the school we have just been rejected from?
What on earth can I do? Our aplications to the schools have consultants letters etc....but it seems to make no difference.

I am of course v upset about all this - and especially that the LEA won't even give me the info, and may have scupered our chances of our top favourite school by not telling me about Statementing in time.

We are contacting IPSEA but they seem only to deal with the problem a but later down the line, at appeal stage.

beep Fri 29-Apr-05 12:11:20

you can get a statement for purely physical disabilities my daughter has had full time support since reception for mobilty as the school she goes has lots of stairs and she also has a tendancy to fall because of poor balance.i was lucky because she went to a special school for a year before reception and they started off the statementing process, it wasn't finished by the september as they took too long but the head teacher told them they would have to pay for full time help anyway.the school has always been very supportive iwas lucky also that my son was in the year above so she got inautomatically.can you appeal on the grounds that it is the most suitablke school especially in view of the future surgery when he will most definately need support.

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 12:40:50

Thanks beep. Beep, what LEA or area of the country are you in?

Anyone got any tips on getting the process started before DS is in a school?

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 13:17:03


janinlondon Fri 29-Apr-05 14:04:44

Bloody LEA is useless BLU. Hope someone has some decent advice for you soon. Commiserations re the application for the "small flat" school. I agree it would be ideal. Sorry I can't help.

batters Fri 29-Apr-05 14:09:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 14:09:43

We are now getting excellent help and support from an organisation called Parents for Inclusion. I have to keep reading out bits from DS's consultant's letter, and the Gp's letter to her- and I keep bursting into tears on the phone, in the office.

Usually i am v matter of fact about DS's leg, but the consultant's letter is really confronting, and the GP's says "BoyBlu is a determined, independent and brave little boy" and it just makes me burst into tears quite irrationally and uncontrollably.

batters Fri 29-Apr-05 14:10:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 14:12:24

Batters, x posted. I will e mail you....I'm still hoping for a good result from the school i think YOU mean as that is actually DS's favourite - the one he sees every day? But I am v pesimistic because we're not in the catchment and SN is below siblings and proximity on their list....and the school we just got rejected from has SN above proximity...

But i will e mail you and take you good advice below.

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 14:14:19

Oooh, bloody 'ell batters, bursting into tears again now!

Potty1 Fri 29-Apr-05 14:23:10

Hi Blu, BoyBlu sounds like a star . Yes you can get a statement for pure physical disability. Even if your ds doesn't need any 'help' as such he does have additional needs to access the curriculum such as few/no stairs, small site etc. It's likely that he will need a helper when he has surgery isn't it? The statement can name a suitable school (the one that you want)........getting the statement can be easy or very difficult depending on your LEA

Thankfully we have never had to go through it for dd as our catchment school is small, on one level etc. Not so the secondary that she goes to in September but for now we have a bit of a 'suck it and see' attitude.

The head of the school sounds a good place to start, along with the LEA and IPSEA have wording that you can use for the letters and stuff on the website.

Are you going to go through appeals for the school that turned you down?

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 14:39:29

Potty, thanks. Yes, we are going to appeal to the school that said no, but I won't be able to get a Statement by then - maybe we should challenge their interpretation that SN only means statemented? I am quite sure that our LEA - Lambeth - will make it HARD to get a statement!!

DS might well need some help for a while after surgery. Until he is older it is hard to know how extreme it will be. Lengthening, definitely, but he may also have to have the growth plate on the other leg put out of action - that is what they are talking about for your DD, isn't it? And if the slight shortening on his femur gets worse, there might be lengthening there, too.

I will be keeping my fingers crossed alongside yours for your DD in September.

Thanks Janinlondon.

Blu Fri 29-Apr-05 15:38:41

I'm offline til Sat night now, but would be v grateful for any other ideas, experience of appeals or admissions struggles etc that others might have.
Thanks all.

beep Fri 29-Apr-05 18:15:55

sorry Blu ihave been out all afternoon we are in cheltenham lea is gloucestershire

tiddlypom Fri 29-Apr-05 19:02:47

Blu, I would definitely contact your local councillor(s) straight away - go and see them in their surgery if you can, with all the letters. The times and place of their surgery should be on the council website. You could also contact the Leader of the council, or copy him in at least; and the lead councillor for Education - again his/her name will be on the website.

The effect of this will at least be to make the LEA move a bit quicker, and you should be able to get some advice.

You poor thing, I hope you can get this sorted.

tiddlypom Fri 29-Apr-05 19:43:56

the councillors' details are here on the council website

tiddlypom Sat 30-Apr-05 18:30:03

executive members who 'lead' on topics are here, education is fourth down

bossykate Sun 01-May-05 20:29:21

just a bump for you bkxxx

bossykate Mon 02-May-05 09:41:40

another bump in case anyone is around today.

tiddlypom Mon 02-May-05 20:07:53

A few more thoughts, Blu - hope you're not feeling too swamped with things to do. I agree with an earlier post that seeing the headteacher is probably the best thing to do first.

The Advisory Centre for Education has a helpline and a very good booklet on appeals. IME the helpline is busy but you can get thru on the phone eventually.

This organisation was given on an MN thread some time ago, probably by JanH (thanks ). I thought I was going to have to appeal for ds' secondary school place, so I got in touch with them. The chap I spoke to was friendly and helpful; they offer a consultancy service, and will prepare your appeal for a price. I would have used them had I been very short of time or panic-stricken - in the end we didn't need to go to appeal. It's not worth buying the booklet they offer on its own, as I did - all the info is in the free ACE booklet.

I don't know much about the statementing process - maybe you need to start a thread under Special Needs? There must be loads of people who could help.

If you CAT me, I can send you my copy of the ACE booklet plus DFES codes of practice on admissions and appeals - I don't need them now.

I hope other people come up with some advice on Statements.

sinclair Mon 02-May-05 20:09:09

Blu, just to say very sorry you haven't got the place you want but as other have suggested to keep pestering the school - in the nicest poss way of course - as things do change, places come up all the way up to and past start of term, you do have a very special case, and at same time apply similar pressure at LEA - tho no evidence that niceness has any effect at all here, you may have to go all out for the jugular to get the statement in Lambeth. Good luck...

bossykate Mon 02-May-05 20:16:36

blu, hope you don't mind, i have started another thread with the same title in the sn section, linked back to here, bkxxx

tamum Mon 02-May-05 20:27:03

Oh Blu, I missed this. I'm so sorry, and now I'm in tears too. What a nice GP (clearly very perceptive).

Can your consultant help at all? I know a friend of mine who is a consultant regularly writes letters designed to trigger the statementing process, he sees it as part of his job. It may be a different system up here though, and the friend is in more of a SN area than orthopaedics. Worth a shot, though?

I would agree with the idea of pestering the school, and challenging their definition. If all else fails, and I know this is a grim option, could he go to whatever school he gets into for now, and aim to get him a place at the nice small school in advance of his operation, or would it be even harder to get a place later?

Oh bless him, and bless you. Well done bossykate for putting this in SN, I'm sure you'll get really solid advice there.

coppertop Mon 02-May-05 20:49:27

IPSEA has good advice on the statementing process here

They also give you the layout of the letter to send to start the process off and a helpline for extra information. The helpline tends to get very busy but it's worth pressing re-dial over and over to get through.

RnB Mon 02-May-05 21:21:05

Message withdrawn

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